Want to become a better writer? Ever wonder what editors look for? Want to know how to proofread your own work? Here are some items to check before you send it to your editor:
5 Things I LOVE to See in Writing
- Story Flow. Keep it going! This may sound simple, but sometimes you can be writing and not realize that you’ve gotten sidetracked. When you read through your finished product, make sure everything flows smoothly and is connected to the plot. If something causes your mind to wander from the story line, change it or take it out. If your story wanders, so will the minds of your readers. Keep it tight.
- Varied Sentence Length. You’re a writer! Make use of that. Variety adds interest. If you have too many short sentences strung together, your story will seem choppy. Or, if you have too many long sentences, it can seem long-winded. Be kind to your reader and vary the length to keep them engaged.
- Imagery. Similes and metaphors are powerful tools that can add depth and complexity to you work. But there are a few cautions: they shouldn’t be overused, they need make to make sense, and they can’t derail the story.
- Commas, Commas, Commas! I think these are the forgotten piece of grammar. Independent clauses need commas, but dependent clauses DO NOT.
The easiest way to decide if you need a comma after your “and” is to ask yourself, “Can this phrase before the ‘and’ be a sentence all by itself (independent clause)?” If the answer is “yes,” give it a comma.
Also, when reading your writing out loud and there is a pause needed, put a comma.
- Active Voice. Your story is much more alive and flows when written in the active voice. It makes your writing stronger, more direct, and more interesting to readers.
5 Things I HATE to See in Writing(more…)
By Author Ellwyn Autumn
So, you want to write and self-publish a children’s book? Good for you! You’re just itching to transcribe your idea to the page. But there’s one obstacle, you don’t know where to start. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.
First things first, write your idea whichever way is most comfortable for you: a list, a word web, notes. It doesn’t matter, just get it out before you forget.
I suggest going to the source after you’ve written it down. What does that mean? Read children’s books. Go to the library and check out a few. Take notes on what you like and dislike about the books.
You might also want to look at my article ‘4 Elements Good Picture Books Need’.
Many people think creating a children’s book is easy. Let me tell you from experience, it isn’t. It’s fun, it’s fulfilling, but easy is not a word I’d use to explain the process.
Finding Support & Inspiration(more…)
I’m very excited to announce the pre-order release of PICTURE THIS: Creative Writing Photo Prompts & Inspiration (The digital cousin of Prompt Me).
I’ve had tons of requests for color photo prompts, so this is for you—over 50 of them! Plus written prompts, fun facts, tips, and master lists.
All for the bargain price of $4.99. Thank you so much for all of the support. 😀😁 https://amzn.to/2B4qBsc
Sample from “Use These Phrases” and “Choose Your Path”:
Dive in and explore a variety of different prompt styles designed to inspire you and spark your inner muse.
This workbook is great for:(more…)
I was contemplating superpowers the other day. Yeah, those are the types of things I ponder in the pre-dawn hours of the morning. I still can’t decide what superpower I would choose, probably telekinesis because looking into someone’s mind would be icky and I would trip if I had super speed.
Then, I had the terrifying thought–what would actual superpowers do to a human body? I found it rather creepy that a Ted Talk on “If Superpowers Were Real: Super Speed” popped up in my feed that morning.
Uhhh. Thought Police anyone?
Well, I posted the Ted Talk videos below, but I have a little more for you. Writing Marvelous Superheroes, here we go…
The thing that separates heroes from villains is what they choose to do with their powers and this all comes out in the origin story.
Once they choose, those superheroes generally fall into three archetypes:
This past March I attended my first convention as a vendor and asked for suggestions as to what my next topic should be—the winner? Horror. This book is packed full of a large variety of styles of prompts, not just traditional story starters.
I have included one of the story helping generators I created for the workbook below (and a photo prompt). So dive in and have some fun writing some creepy stories just in time for Halloween!
Are you a budding Stephen King or want to be? Whether you are an adult or teen, this book is for you. It has hundreds of prompts and a healthy amount of charts and references to help ignite your creativity.
This workbook is great for:
- Writers who need to banish writer’s block
Teachers who need bell activities
- Someone who wants daily writing prompts
- Homeschool parents who want fun curriculum
- Screenwriters who want inspiration for scripts
- People who need a gift for a writer or English teacher
- Anyone who wants to ignite creativity and improve writing
- This workbook is clean enough for teens and sophisticated for seasoned writers.
Here is a sample page. What is your nightmare?
Need some inspiration? Check out the rest of the Prompt Me Series.
Photo prompts, story starters, master lists, and more.
This last school year I took on a new endeavor: homeschooling two elementary kids. Overall, it went really well, but there was one area of frustration. My kids hated answering lists of questions and didn’t always want to discuss the chapters they’d read. My solution? I wrote a book.
Drawing on my two and a half decades of classroom experience teaching literature–I came up with several prototypes using my kiddos for guinea pigs. Don’t worry no harm came to any children. ;o)
My kids both love making lists and drawing pictures. So, I incorporated what not only my children like, but also what worked in my high school classroom.
There’s room to log 10 books chapter-by-chapter. And, you never have to chase a bunch of papers around! All their notes stay in this easy to use workbook.(more…)
So, you published your book? That is amazing! You should take a minute to revel in the accomplishment. Really. You did something a lot of people dream of doing but never do.
Now, I would take a second to bookmark this page. I’ll wait. Done? Great.
First of all, you don’t need to do everything on this checklist today. I would advise doing one item a day for the next several days.
This is pretty much the list of what I wish I’d known when I started back in 2010. I had to “just figure it out.” There are so many more resources out there now–and so many more doors are open to indie and small pub writers.
So, here we go!(more…)
The fact is, that most everyone wants to be smarter. If you are a life-long learner, like me, then it is fun to find new ways to stretch yourself.
But can you actually increase your intelligence? The answer — YES!
And you can do it through creative writing.
Here are some facts about intelligence to help you understand (from American Scientific Magazine my inspiration for this post).
Facts About Fluid Intelligence
- Fluid intelligence is trainable.
- The more you challenge yourself, the better your brain will work.
- Anyone can increase their intelligence. Yes, everyone.
- Exercises don’t need to be traditional.
So, how does this apply to you? According to American Scientific, you can do five things to train your brain.
Application Through Creative Writing
1. Seek Novelty(more…)
I’ve been hoarding pictures again and thought I should share a few. May they be a muse to your writing fancies.
(I took a whole series of photos for Prompt Me Again. This one was much better in color, so I saved it for the blog. My friend Jenn was such a good sport and repeatedly did the “dead man’s float” for me over and over again. Don’t worry, it’s stage blood (peppermint flavored). :)
I scanned the crowd around the pool as dread flowed over me…
The fog only became thicker as night drew near…